Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Choice Is Yours

As I sit here in children's hospital with my nephew on the children's oncology floor my perspective begins to fine tune itself even more. Dealing with adult cancer is one thing but watching a child suffer is an entirely different entity. My nephew doesn't have cancer but he has Sickle Cell. In my opinion it's an even more debilitating disease because there is no cure and he will suffer from this his entire life.

I remember watching my brother suffer from this disease as a child. The horrible pain, the screams of agony, all the hospital visits, countless needles, the list goes on and on. My dad has the disease and passed it on to my brother and my sister. My sister didn't suffer nearly as bad as my brother did. She rarely had crises or episodes but when she did it was almost worst than watching my brother suffer. He was used to it and knew what to expect. That didn't make it easier but he tolerated these episodes better than my sister. Unfortunately, my sister ended up with the severe lung issues with the disease when she got older and it ultimately caused her death. Anyone who is close to me and my family knows the hardships we have endured regarding health issues. So when I tell you we come from a family of fighters....believe me, IT'S IN OUR BLOOD (literally and figuratively).

I keep hearing people say, "It must be awful to have to deal with him being sick and you're dealing with your health issues too." I will say it's tiring but I must be honest, I'm still thankful. Why? This is his first crises in a long time. Imagine my terror when I found out about my cancer last December knowing I had a child with serious health issues of his own. I was petrified. What happens if he gets sick and I'm sick? Then what?      

Well, the other day I was on the phone with my sister and she was saying the same thing and I couldn't help but say, "You know what? I'm not mad because at least he waited until I got through my surgeries, months of chemotherapy and radiation before he had an episode. At least now I am well enough to handle it." He overheard my telephone conversation and when I hung up he said, "Aunt Nana, I tried my best not to get sick because I knew you were sick." It's one of those parenting moments that brings tears to your eyes. Lord knows he has given me my share of parenting problems but this was one of those moments that make you feel proud.

I am nearing the end of my journey and happy doesn't begin to describe how I feel. For me there is a light at the end of the tunnel but for him there is not. I still have good days and bad days but who doesn't?So, before you begin to wallow in self misery or book the room for your pity party be thankful for what you have and be mindful of how your situation COULD be worse. If you are negative or bitter it is because YOU choose to be. It may sound cliche but 'Let Go and Let God'. Your life will be much more enjoyable.

For this life I choose happiness, peace, and tranquility. Try it, you just might like it.